Most Maryland car accidents involve a number of contributing factors that led to the final collision. Courts and insurance adjusters will look to the totality of the circumstances when making determinations regarding fault and liability. Several environmental factors may come into play when evaluating an accident. In most cases, an outside influence, such as weather, impacted the accident. However, it is essential to note that an unavoidable weather event does not necessarily remove responsibility from an at-fault driver. While bad weather may exacerbate an accident, drivers still maintain the duty of care to modify their driving to adjust to the changing weather conditions.
Bad or unexpected weather can cause a chain reaction of events that can cause catastrophic injuries to other motorists, passengers, and bystanders. For example, a recent sandstorm resulted in a deadly pileup. An out-of-state highway patrol officer explained that a 22-vehicle crash occurred after strong winds caused a sand and dust storm. Many drivers began stopping their vehicles because they could not see the road.
The sudden stopping caused various collisions, including accidents between large tractor-trailers and smaller sedans. Ultimately, eight people suffered fatal injuries in the accident, including four children. Authorities believe that a thunderstorm about 90 miles away from the dust storm stirred up dirt and dust that led to the sandstorm. The Weather Service advised residents that the wind surges could reach over 60 miles per hour. Accident scene photos depicted piles of wreckage and vehicles pinned underneath large trucks. However, these extreme weather events are becoming more common as the United States has been encountering several droughts.
Do Maryland Drivers Owe a Duty to Others on the Road?
Yes, Maryland drivers have the duty to keep other road users safe, despite weather conditions. Drivers should reasonably modify their driving to meet current weather conditions. However, “reasonable” is a subjective term that courts evaluate on a case-by-case basis. Generally, triers-of-fact will look at the at-fault party’s speed and whether they were obeying traffic laws. Some relevant traffic laws include the distance the driver kept from other vehicles and if they were attentive during the weather event. Inclement weather is not a scapegoat to liability, and instead, bad weather heightens the duty that motorists have to others. While the weather may have been treacherous, courts will look at how the at-fault party adjusted their driving to meet the conditions.
Have You Been Involved in an Accident During Bad Weather?
If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries or died in a Maryland car accident, contact Lebowitz & Mzhen for assistance. The injury attorneys at our office have extensive experience successfully representing Maryland accident victims during their complex matters. Maryland personal injury cases are rarely straightforward, and our attorneys have the experience, skills, and resources to overcome even the most challenging claims. Additionally, our firm handles Maryland premises liability cases, defective product lawsuits, medical malpractice claims, and wrongful death lawsuits. Contact our office at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free initial consultation with a Maryland accident attorney on our team. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we succeed in getting you the compensation you deserve.